August 6, 2010
Regarding securites licenses, I hold Series 1 (today known as a 7), 63, 65 and 24. My office files are inspected at least once a year. All sales and purchases of securities have oversight by the broker/dealer and there is daily email monitoring and any advertising must have approval of the broker/dealer. I believe the NASD/FINRA has demonstrated superior oversight to the SEC.
I believe the combination of securites and insurance regulators provide ample oversight to my business. The Dodd/Frank legislation is suspect, look at the documented authors. Some of the same people who thought home ownership was "riskless".
I am a 40 year veteran of financial services, some years in management and others in my own business. I believe the SEC could provide a great service by recommending the following, or something similar:
When I was a rookie, it was not unusual for the top producers (salesmen) to earn more than the CEOs of the industry companies. Rare today. Back then CEOs made approximately 20 times their lowest income employee. If a company is publicly traded, put a limit on CEO salaries at 200 times the lowest income. Investors would then know if the lowest paid employee earned $40,000, the top CEO pay (bonus perks et al) would have a ceiling of $8,000,000. Not a paltry sum. Privately held companies could pay the CEO as much as they wanted......but if the public is investing, the CEO must not be able to make what his/her cronies on the board determine. This may sound un-American but we have similar restrictions in other areas, witness the maximum percentage a life insurance company is allowed to invest in common stocks.
Investors would undoubtedly earn better dividends and/or see the value of their shares grow at a greater acceleration than the present situation, which does not provide guidelines, other than what the traffic will bear according to management. Take a look at the values created by Warren Buffett compared to others.
I am not envious of CEOs. This suggestion is offered to protect investors from the creeping greed and entitlement some think is their due, do to their position. Having served as a field officer, I have witnessed what can happen in the clubby relationships between board and officers.